ESL Pro League Season 9 Recap | Current CS:GO Power Rankings | Upcoming Events
It’s all over! With that electrifying G2 vs Team Liquid grand finals match on Sunday, the ninth season of ESL Pro League has been successfully wrapped up. We’ve had plenty of matches to enjoy, lots of top-tier moves, and brilliant aiming to admire. The event was fuming with excellent plays and the buzzing French crowd in Montpellier almost led their team to the trophy. That said, let’s use this article as a sort of an ESL Pro League Finals recap to assess, analyze and discuss the most intriguing bits and pieces of the event!
ESL Pro League Finals Recap
As you all know, Team Liquid emerged victoriously and took home their first ever ESL Pro League trophy. As far as 2019 is concerned, that’s the fourth trophy for the boys in blue. A spectacular achievement, obviously.
Better yet, with this trophy, they’ve finally cemented their position as the best CS:GO team at the moment. Even though many expected to see Astralis vs Team Liquid in the grand finals, that opportunity came a bit earlier. The second quarterfinals match was finely poised with the two world’s best teams going up against each other. And, after a tightly contested match, Team Liquid deservingly advanced to the semifinals.
Best of all, this ESL Pro League Finals trophy makes them the heavy favorites to win the second season of Intel Grand Slam. They are three from three, with seven chances remaining to take the final fourth win that gets them the lucrative $1,000,000 in prize money.
As for the full ESL Pro League Finals recap, phase by phase, check out the following two sections!
Group A was pretty much on point until that amazing display by the NA side, NRG. In the final upper bracket round, led by CeRq and Brehze, NRG managed to pull a fast one by Astralis and push them to the quarterfinals. The same duo also shoved the crowd favorites, G2 Esports, into the lower bracket, where AmaNEk and Lucky had to battle their way through to the quarterfinals. Luckily, Cloud9 and Heroic weren’t that demanding to overcome.
Group B displayed a huge surprise right off the bat. Team Liquid lost against North in what was a thrilling Dust II contest. Both teams played well, but valde was just too hot for the NA side. Luckily for the boys in blue, they picked up the pace as time went on, defeating some of the big dogs on their way to the quarterfinals.
We’re talking TYLOO, HellRaisers, and MIBR. In group B upper bracket finals, Mousesports and FaZe Clan competed for the semifinals. After an underwhelming performance by FaZe Clan (the first sign of their eventual quarterfinals demise), woxic and the boys took the glory and qualified straight to the semis.
As you all know, ESL Pro League features an uneven bracket due to its double-elimination group stage that sees a total of six teams through. Group winners go straight to the semifinals while second and third place teams start from the quarters.
The first quarterfinals match saw FaZe Clan go up against G2 Esports. In all honesty, it was a pretty lackluster performance by FaZe Clan players. It was one of their usual lethargic displays that plagues their campaigns every now and then. They were too static, didn’t show enough teamwork and definitely didn’t have the upper hand clutch-wise. Overall, G2 Esports easily overpowered them on both Train and Dust II, to further up the atmosphere in the already electrified Sud de France Arena.
The second quarterfinals match was definitely the match to watch in this tournament. It’s basically the main focus of this entire ESL Pro League Finals Recap article. The quarterfinals match between Astralis and Team Liquid. The match between the world’s greatest CS:GO teams. And boy was it a proper cracker. The match itself will be explained in more detail down below but for now, let’s just say it ended 2-1 in favor of Team Liquid.
As for the semifinals, NRG played vs G2 and Mousesports were to face Team Liquid. Once again, the electric Montpellier crowd served as the sixth man on the battlegrounds for G2. They had their fair share of trouble with NRG, but in the end, emerged victoriously. All thanks to thrilling performances by the man, the myth, the AWPing legend, KennyS. With 70 kills and 17 assists across three maps, it’s safe to say G2 couldn’t have done it without him.
I expected much a much greater performance by Mousesports in their semifinal match against Team Liquid. After defeating the likes of FaZe Clan and MIBR, ChrisJ, woxic and the company looked mighty. However, Team Liquid managed to perfectly counter their playstyle. The match ended with a resounding 2-0 on the scoreboard. Even though the second map (Nuke) went to overtime, I still believe Mousesports didn’t play near to their potential across both maps.
If you watched the grand finals Bo5 between Team Liquid and G2 Esports, I reckon you had one hell of a time. Especially from the neutral perspective. Both of these teams showed proper brilliance throughout the match. In the end, we saw four maps of awesome CS:GO play, with the match almost going the full five maps road. If it weren’t for Stewie2K’s brilliant flank down the middle, that is.
Yes, that flank down mid to banana on Inferno was the moment that left the French crowd in utter agony. However, everyone involved with competitive CS:GO esports in France should be satisfied with their teams’ recent performances. Not only did Vitality win two notable events (ECS Season 7 Finals and cs_summit 4, but G2 also made a stellar show in Montpellier, reaching the grand finals and narrowly losing against the world’s strongest side.
Current State of Affairs in Competitive CS:GO
As I already stated earlier, Team Liquid has cemented its spot as the number one team in CS:GO at the moment. Astralis is now at a distant second place, with ENCE and Vitality in touching distance. NRG and FaZe are up there too, followed by surprising names such as FURIA and G2. NaVi and Fnatic certainly experienced the biggest shocks. The Ukrainian/Russian team is now sitting at the 13th spot, all due to failing to qualify and/or deliberately missing out on crucial tournaments.
For an in-depth look at the CS:GO rankings, make sure you check out the official HLTV rankings page.
Astralis vs Team Liquid | Grand Finals Prior to the Grand Finals
The tensions were sky high from the very first round. Device and the boys came guns blazing on all fronts, storming through the first half with an astonishing 12-3 halftime lead. Even though EliGE and Stewie2K did their fair share of work in the second half, it was only a matter of time before Astralis close the match out.
The second round went in the completely opposite direction. This time around, NAF, nitr0, and EliGE were the ones dealing the killing blows. Team Liquid players were ruthless, only dropping a single round in the first half. They did fail to close the match out straight from the second half pistol round. However, they still lost just six rounds, finishing off with proper style at 16-6.
Each match was a brutal slog for both teams
It was all down to map three, the infamous Vertigo. The freshest map in the CS:GO competitive pool, one that still hasn’t won the hearts of fans or players alike. Nevertheless, Astralis wanted to assert their dominance early on. And, for a moment, they seemed to be on the right track. The halftime score was 11-4 in their favor, and the second half seemed like the business end of the contest.
However, that’s when EliGE and Stewie2K came to their senses. The boys in blue managed to string together ten consecutive rounds. They went from 11-4 at halftime to 14-11. Talk about a comeback, huh. Team Liquid gave Astralis no luxury in terms of dynamics and rotations. Astralis players were trying to counter their playstyle, something which they don’t usually do. Nevertheless, The Great Danes’ efforts were in vain. Led by EliGE and Stewie2K, Team Liquid got their final two rounds after nerve-racking duels. 16-13 was the final score. 16-13 in favor of Team Liquid who were through to the semis.
French CS:GO on the Rise
If there’s one thing we learned from this ESL Pro League Finals recap and other recent events, it’s that the French CS:GO scene is finally going through its renaissance. With the likes of G2 and Vitality cementing their positions in the top 10 list, presenting great performances all across the board and actually winning a notable tournament, it’s safe to say CS:GO in France is finally looking good.
However, we also have to emphasize the strengths of the NA teams too. Team Liquid, of course, is leading the charge. However, the likes of NRG and MIBR are looking solid too. The new Cloud9 roster still looks underwhelming but I’m sure things will make a twist for the better. Partially because it can’t be worse than it already is, can it?
Upcoming CS:GO Tournaments
There are several tournaments in the next few weeks that could alter the top end of the rankings table. With only a week separating us from the start of ESL One Cologne, the action is a lot sooner than most of us think.
That said, let’s check out the upcoming CS:GO events that bear significance for the CS:GO team rankings table!
ESL One Cologne 2019
ESL One Cologne 2019 starts next Tuesday. As usual, it will feature sixteen teams divided into two double-elimination groups. The event will end on Sunday with the grand final match scheduled for a Bo5 contest.
There’s $300,000 on the line, half of which ought to go to the winning team. With the likes of Astralis, Team Liquid, FaZe, NaVi, and ENCE ready for the kickoff, we’re bound to have a proper spectacle to enjoy.
DreamHack Showdown Valencia 2019
Next up, we’ll get to watch the next DreamHack event. DreamHack Showdown Valencia 2019, to be precise. We’re talking about a women’s event here, featuring the best female CS:GO teams out there. Teams such as Besiktas Esports, Orange.Sphynx and Assassins will all be competing at this event, meaning we will all get a fine dose of competitive female CS:GO.
On, I almost forgot, there will be a total of $100,000 in prize pool money. A pretty hefty sum in the world of female CS:GO. Fingers crossed we get to see more of these top-tier events featuring female contestants.
BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles
RFRSH Entertainment’s BLAST Pro Series is back in roughly three weeks. The tournament will be held on the second weekend in July. 13th and 14th, to be precise. Cloud9, FaZe Clan, Team Liquid, MIBR, NRG, and Renegades will be competing in Los Angeles’ HD Buttercup Building, hoping to get the fairest share of the $250,000 in prize pool money.
After the spectacle in LA, there will only be three remaining BPS events prior to the Global Final scheduled for December. A lot of things can happen in the overall rankings table, meaning every single point still counts!
IEM XIV Chicago
The last notable tournament in July is the highly anticipated Intel Extreme Masters XIV Chicago. Eight top tier teams (six of which have already qualified) will battle it out against each other from 18th to 21st July.
There’s a total of $250,000 in the prize pool with NA qualifiers and GG.Bet Invitational in charge of deciding the last two participants. Thus far, the quality of teams is absolutely astonishing, so we can only hope for more of the same on the last two qualifying events.